Desperately Seeking Help With burger blend for a plancha/flattop 911

Joined Jan 27, 2018
My name is Gregorio. I am the chef at a restaurant concept in Mass. A huge part of our contributing food sales on a weekly basis is generated by our burger, which has become a flagship of our brand. We cook our burgers on a flattop grill/ plancha. We have struggled to find a blend that works for us, basically we are very high volume, looking to sell burgers straight from the flattop to the bun "after a brief rest" to accommodate such high volume....we can make it perfect with oven time....but don't want to do this.

Our burger is 8.5 ounces....fairly thick (size 90 ring mold), our burger batch we make daily....30# 80/20 chuck.....12.5# ground grass fed.......7.5# ground waygu.......15# 81/19......makes our batch, yields about 120 burgers.........

we add a small amount of seasoning and high quality wet jerk (minimal amount, not enough to affect cooking process).......

This recipe was working out amazing for us, and now, just like before, something has happened with our meat....either a change in the fineness of the grind, or the frigging cows its made from .....or something......but we are ending up with a very hard sear on the outside and literally tartare on the inside...literally impossible to cook a med rare or medium.......(without oven time)

The med well/ well done is like the juiciest med well/ well done you will ever eat in your life....but our predominant temps that are ordered at our restaurant are med rare and medium as you could imagine.....I feel like plancha burger cookery is tough because you are dealing with surface heat as opposed to radiant heat from an open flame.....this makes the blend super first thought is to add more 80/20 chuck, but then the mix is too fatty and blows out the sides.....we are dimpling our burgers, pressing with a weight, then adding toppings and melting under a dome top with worchestershire/water mix right at the end to melt the cheese........they come out good with oven time...but again, this is not conducive to our volume.....and we know we can make it so this is not necessary as we have in the past.....we just don't know how.......

I add too much grass or waygu and there is a result of negative heat induction in the middle so you get a very very hard sear on the outside and tartare in the middle....adding chuck combats this....add too much chuck and the sides blow out and you have unrendered fat in the middle....which leads me to believe the issue is the grind......fineness or lack there of.......This is a huger issue I need resolved and would appreciate any input. Thank you so much......
Joined May 5, 2010
Of course animals vary so will your meat quality. You may have to re-adjust your cooking method to accommodate.
I create a concave burger so the center is lower than the sides. I have found this to add in cooking the burger faster.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I'll say that it is the grind. Too fine a grind allows the proteins to blend too much and bind too quickly when exposed to the grill heat.
It may be that not all the varied meats you use are ground to the same specification or perhaps shouldn't be. If you can cook a bit of each separately, you can observe how they cook and may isolate the problem to just one of the meats. That meat may need to be ground a bit coarser.
Just for fun, I'll predict it's the wagyu that's the problem.
PS. I don't think a good burger should ever be pressed. Too much fat and moisture gets pressed out. I've seen a lot of cooks do it, particularly for cooking well done because they say it speeds up the process but I would rather let the burger take longer to cook without pressing it. Perhaps if you fix the other problem, you could stop pressing the burgers.
Joined Jan 27, 2018
Our burgers are so juicy that the press is necessary to get to desired temp without oven time. Waygu is a good guess as culprit because of the fact its a blend and also is the one meat out of the four that arrives frozen.Though I would love use a farm raised blend it is not practical given our concept, volume and available expenses, though our meat is of excellent quality....there is just an underlying inconsistency either pertaining to the animal or fabricator....or both......anymore advice would be appreciated. thanks
Joined Feb 8, 2009
There are a few things I got out of your description of the problems your having with MR and Medium burgers. Whats interesting is when the fats in the burger have time to cook and blend you get a juicy burger. Your not getting this with a lesser cooked burger because the fats don't have time to heat and blend together. I think with the MR and medium your getting a crust and a mushy center because the outside is able to fry the fats while the center isn't. I'm not a big fan of pressing the burgers either. By constantly turning the burger on the you will prevent over cooking the outside and will be like placing the burger in the oven to finish. You need to think of why your getting good results from finishing in the oven and not the grill. All this being said, it could be the softness of the waygu fats along with the added water that freezing and thawing would add to the meat. Try not pressing the burger with a spatula and hand forming the patties without over working the ground meat. This process will take a bit longer, but, no one ever said good food was easy........ChefBillyB
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
I was thinking Wagyu mostly for the tenderness factor I am assuming it has. I'll go out on a limb here and explain my thinking and await correction from others.
A burger is ground muscle and fat. Tougher cuts are typically used for burgers. Tougher cuts have more well developed muscle fibers. Tougher muscle fibers don't shrink as much and retain their shape more and provide more chew. So the muscle fibers in a tender muscle ground up would be more inclined to shrink and disintegrate more quickly, binding together to create the outside seal that prevents the rest of the burger from cooking quicker. The fibers in a tougher muscle would retain more individuality as they cook, letting the outside fat drain off but allowing spaces for the heat to pass through to the rest of the burger.
The fat helps the burger retain juiciness while the muscle fibers cook. With the more tender fibers, the fat closest to the outside
melts away quickly, allowing the soft muscle fibers to cook quickly and form a mesh and the resultant sealed surface.
With tougher fibers, the fat nearest the surface melts away, but the tougher fibers don't form the same mesh, allowing the heat to enter the interior of the patty.
So a tougher cut of meat could be ground finer and a more tender cut would need to be cut more coarsely to allow cooking at more or less the same rate.
I hope that makes some sense.


Joined Aug 31, 2017

would putting on flat top and then finish through a broiler work or small bowl work that a small hole at top to let steam out,
causing an oven effect.
but someone mentioned that different grinds affect proteins when close to heat i would get meats seperate and start again 20% this 40% that etc etc
that wqay problem of elimination
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